Google offering $5 Google Wallet promo with purchase of select gift cards

Google_Wallet_LogoThroughout the holiday season, Google is offering $5 in promotional credit if you make a gift card purchase with Google Wallet. If you purchase any gift cards online through Regal Cinemas, Sephora, Staples, Toys “R” Us, or Whole Foods, you’ll get a free $5 gift card back. It’s not much, but hey, free money is never a bad thing.

These gift cards have to be purchased online, and it has to be done with a Wallet account by January 31st, but if you meet those conditions that $5 credit is yours to spend however you choose.

source: Google

Nexus 7, Nexus 9, and Nexus 10 get Android 5.0.1 factory images

google_nexus_9_screensIf you own a Nexus tablet, you might want to check out Google’s latest factory image page. The WiFi versions of the 2013 Nexus 7, Nexus 9, and brand new Nexus 10 all have official factory images for Android 5.0.1 available to flash. This should be the start of a gradual rollout to all Nexus devices, but the tablets are getting the first crack at the incremental update.

If you need help installing the factory images on your device, you can find our guide here.
Read more

First Galaxy A3 hands on video surfaces

samsung galaxy a3We’re finally getting a hands on look at Samsung’s upcoming Galaxy A3 thanks to an Italian site that’s posted an early brief review of the premium device. Samsung didn’t pack in any surprises, so is still just a slightly refined version of the Galaxy Alpha. It ditches the textured back cover in favor of a smooth design, and there’s no heart rate monitor on the backside. It does still feature a full metal frame, however, which is the biggest selling point behind the A series devices.

The A3 features a fairly low resolution, 4.5-inch screen, but it is a Super AMOLED display which partially makes up for the low pixel count. The processor is a Snapdragon 410 CPU, and you’ll get 1 GB of RAM with 16 GB of internal storage plus a micro SD card slot. The device runs Android 4.4 with all of Samsung’s latest TouchWiz features, including the ultra power saving mode found on the Galaxy S 5 and Note 4.
Read more

Motorola releases new ads with a sense of humor for the Moto 360

Moto_360_Google_IO_2014The latest ads in Motorola’s marketing campaign for their flagship smartwatch¬†take a humorous approach towards promoting the Moto 360. The ads are both under half a minute long and have the same classy feel that watch commercials on prime time television do, but end with reminders that the real world isn’t always so elegant.

Hit the break to check out videos. Keep an eye on the Businessman spot if you’re a fan of burritos.
Read more

Google files patent for redesigned and slimmer Google Glass

glass patentGoogle has filed for another patent for a redesigned version of Glass that shows off a much slimmer version than what you’ll get with the Explorer Edition today. This design fixes some of the problems of the original iteration of Glass, including a less bulky frame as well as a textured touch pad on the side.

While this patent shows a nice redesign of the hardware, it doesn’t mention anything about whether or not Google will actually begin shipping Glass with Intel processors like we’ve heard. If all of these rumors wind up being true, though, there’s a good chance we’ll finally see a slimmed down consumer release of Glass with a brand new, optimized CPU sometime next year, and hopefully it won’t cost $1,500 this time around.
Read more

You can now automatically convert Office attachments in Gmail into Google Drive files

google_drive_app_iconGoogle has added a great function to Drive and Gmail that should speed up moving files between the two services. Now whenever you have an Office file in Gmail that you want to edit in Google Docs, Sheets, or Slides, a single click will automatically convert the file into the appropriate Drive app for you to begin editing immediately. Plus, you get all the extra useful features of Google’s office suite, including having a full file history to fall back on.

If you frequently get sent Office attachments in your email, this change should help speed up your work immediately.

source: Google

Chromecast made up 20% of streaming media device sales in 2014

streaming marketshareWhen Google released the Chromecast, it was set at a very cheap price point in order to chew up as much market share as quickly as possible, similar to Google’s approach with Android. Looks like that tactic paid off for the little streaming dongle, as the Chromecast holds second place in the market share race after just over a year on the market.

In 2013, Roku and Apple TV made up over half of the market, with Roku leading the way by a considerable margin. In 2014, that shifted dramatically with Roku losing a large percentage of the market and Apple TV actually coming in third behind Google’s second place Chromecast. Since the Chromecast is significantly cheaper than what’s offered by Roku or Apple, that’s helped it rise in market share so quickly.
Read more

Samsung may be working on a mobile GPU to pair with Exynos processors for 2015

samsung_exynos_5_chipA major component of Samsung’s business deals with mobile processors, and their Exynos CPUs are always top-notch chips even when compared to offerings from Qualcomm and NVIDIA. However, Samsung typically relies on other manufacturers for the GPU in their mobile devices, but it looks like that might change next year.

A new report suggests Samsung is in the process of developing its own GPU to pair with its Exynos processors, and it’s slated for release as early as mid-2015. If that date is accurate, we’ll probably miss seeing it in the Galaxy S6, but there’s a good chance we could see it end up in the Galaxy Note 5 or whatever else succeeds the Note lineup in the second half of the year.
Read more

Google will start automatically deducting VAT from apps sold to European countries

Google_Play_Store_Logo_456There’s a change that will start affecting many developers that publish their apps on Google Play in the near future, especially those that frequently sell apps to European countries. Starting January 1st, Google will begin automatically deducting VAT (Value-Added Tax) from the sale price of applications due to a change in European law as to how the tax must be collected. Currently, developers can handle paying VAT separately and not have Google skim anything (besides the 30% fee) off the top.
Read more